A group of anonymous Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees are calling on President Biden to fire DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari.
Why it matters: Cuffari, a Trump-appointed staffer, has been the subject of controversy since he faced allegations of a cover-up during his office’s Jan. 6 investigation into deleted Secret Service messages. Several Democrats called on him to resign from office.
What you say: “[T]The highest priorities of an inspector general are integrity and independence,” the letter reads.
- “He has caused lasting damage to the reputation of DHS OIG, which has already suffered from public scandals and mismanagement,” the letter said, citing alleged incidents including his delay in releasing audits and editing reports to include important ones remove knowledge.
- “He no longer has the support of his staff. Employees don’t trust IG Cuffari and its leadership to make the right decision.”
- “IG Cuffari has made it clear that he wishes to remain in his position, even in the face of continued, well-deserved criticism from the media, Congress, other regulators and his own staff,” the letter said. “You are the only one who can help us before DHS OIG is damaged forever by IG Cuffari.”
The letter, received from the Project On Government Oversight is signed “[c]former DHSOIG staff from all program offices at all grade levels” who state that they are unable to identify themselves for fear of reprisals.
- It is unclear how many employees were involved.
- The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The other side: A spokesman for the DHS office of the inspector general said in a statement that “Dr. Cuffari transformed the DHS OIG into a model place to work,” noting “significant increases” in employee engagement scores during Cuffari’s tenure.
- “[S]Since his endorsement, IG Cuffari has offered each OIG employee multiple opportunities to meet with him and other senior leaders in small groups. The feedback from employees has been overwhelmingly positive and helpful in further improving our operations.”
The big picture: Two senior House Democrats have claimed Cuffari refused to cooperate in, and even obstructed, the Secret Service’s investigation into the deleted texts, and urged him to comply with Congress’ demands.
- A 2013 report released earlier this year revealed that Cuffari had previously been accused of misleading investigators. It raised new questions about his conduct in one of the most critical oversight roles in the federal government.
- His office also declined to open investigations into the Secret Service’s handling of Black Lives Matter protests in DC or the spread of COVID-19 among Secret Service members.